Eliot describes Tiresias as “blind, throbbing between two lives,” a unifier between the ancient and modern worlds, embracing his pained role of being many different people at the same time. He is a living paradox, wearing many different masks.
So are we, too, hypocrites? Are we also condemned to live with the multiplicity that Tiresias was doomed with? Are we natural deceivers and actors that play many different roles? Is being a hypocrite just, well, human nature?
I would argue that if we weren’t hypocrites, we would be perfect. And Lord knows that no human is perfect, that no human can maintain the utmost standard of purity and perfection in whatever respect. We preach to “love your neighbor,” but how often do we fail to love our neighbors? How often do we let our friends get away with the things we condemn others for?
We are all hypocrites, then. I don’t think there’s a single person that hasn’t said to do something and then acted in the exact opposite way they preached.
Summarizing the words of Pattie Huggins Deitrick;
We give ourselves passes on standards we hold others to. We give advice we don’t follow ourselves. We say we love connection and friendships and simultaneously express a need to isolate ourselves. We tell people how important it is to be vulnerable when we can’t do so ourselves.
Every human being is an unfinished work in progress. It’s not like we shouldn’t aspire to be less hypocritical and more aware of our shortcomings and ways we don’t live up to what we preach. Even when we call others hypocrites, we, too, are hypocrites. We should judge less knowing our own shortcomings — and yet it’s a constant back and forth, a constant fluid and dynamic struggle.
All of us are hypocrites. There’s nothing we can do to change us, as well as others. Hypocrisy is engrained in our biology and DNA — our cognitive dissonance wants to elevate ourselves and people in our own in-groups as righteous, others as not righteous.
The lesson we should take, perhaps, it to more forgiving of hypocrisy — for ourselves and for others. All of us fall short of our own moral codes and standards, and we spend our whole lives as works in progress. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and since we’re all hypocrites, let’s be comfortable with the life of being a hypocrite, one that’s flawed and multifaceted.
The human condition is one of going back and forth, and we, always, will be going back and forth as hypocrites. Maybe we should stembrace it.
How Can We Stop Being Hypocrites?
To stop being a hypocrite, we must first examine our own moral code and determine whether there are any contradictions in it. Objective morality is the best tool to help us overcome hypocrisy. Objective morality is the belief that meaning is not open for interpretation, and that something is true regardless of who is involved in a situation. In other words, stealing is wrong in and of itself. Abuse is wrong in and of itself. Hurting someone’s feelings is wrong in and of itself.
We must also stop pretending to be anything other than human. We must admit that we are imperfect beings who are prone to make mistakes. We must learn to laugh at ourselves and look at our own shortcomings less seriously. We must recognize that every one of us is prone to wrongdoing.
Putting ourselves in other people’s shoes can also be helpful. Learn about others. Get to know your enemies. Think about where they are coming from. Do unto others as you would have done unto you. Think about how much it hurts to be accused of something that you are doing yourself. Putting ourselves in other people’s shoes can also be tremendously helpful in decreasing our inflated ego and self-righteousness.
Other tips include –
· Ignore what other people are doing and focus on yourself
· Stop condemning others so quickly
· Pinpoint context and how it alters the way that you think/believe
· Start paying attention to your cognitive dissonance.